BELGIUM- The construction of Cargill’s new Belgium-based innovation hub dubbed the ‘House of Chocolate’ comprising of an inspirational high-tech chocolate experience centre, a pilot plant and a sensory lab, is well underway and is anticipated to open in March 2022.

Cargill says the soon to be opened US$21 million innovation hub is an integral part of our long-term “Journey to Joy 2022” vision to become the trusted solution provider for chocolate and will serve its broad customer portfolio.

The chocolate experience center will be a platform for co-creation to improve customer’ product decisions and increase speed to market for both gourmet and large-scale applications.

The pilot plant will, on the other hand, be used to replicate real production conditions on a small scale and easily produce samples for testing and trial before going into large-scale manufacturing.

Home to Cargill’s largest European cocoa and chocolate sensory center, the sensory lab will be outfitted with state-of-the-art high-tech equipment to allow for a wide range of sensory testing on anything from chocolate, coatings and fillings to ice cream or biscuits.

“There will be small studios where our 40 researchers will experiment together with our customers. There is also a small production line with which we can prepare the new products for industrial production,” said Inge Demeyere, the company’s director for chocolate in Europe.

Cargill already has its main production facility in Mouscron, as well as two others in Antwerp and Kalmthout, together employing 250 people. The new house of chocolate will add ten to that number.

The three factories have received investment of €70 million in the last eight years, including a doubling of capacity at Mouscron.

Sustainable Grazing

Meanwhile, Cargill, Sysco, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) have formed a new partnership to help ranchers in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas, and Colorado adopt sustainable grazing practices.

According to a statement from Cargill, the new program, funded to a tune of US$5 million will accelerate the implementation of sustainable grazing practices over the next five years.

This collaboration also supports Cargill’s BeefUp Sustainability initiative, which seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout the company’s North American beef supply chain by 30 percent by 2030.

The program will cut across 1 million acres in the Southern Great Plains, an area responsible for approximately 30% of the beef produced in the United States.

The sustainable grazing practices implemented by ranchers with support from this program will have far-reaching impact by: Improving soil health and protecting from erosion and compaction, promoting biodiversity, increasing carbon storage, and Safeguarding the livelihoods of ranchers and rural communities in the region.

Cargill noted that the Southern Plains Grassland Program has the potential to sequester up to 360,000 metric tons of carbon per year, or the equivalent of removing 78,000 passenger vehicles from the road in one year.

NFWF will manage a competitive grant program that will enable nonprofit conservation groups, ranching collaboratives/associations, and agencies at the state and local level to engage with ranchers at a scale not seen before in the region, a successful model utilized by NFWF in landscapes across the country.

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